Trana Discovery and Southern Research Institute have announced a collaborative research agreement that could lead to the discovery of new classes of drugs for the treatment of patients infected with HIV.
Under the agreement, Trana will screen Southern Research's extensive collection of nucleosides to identify anti-infectives with mechanism of action.
Trana Discovery technology can help discover classes of anti-infective compounds found in chemical libraries held by partner organizations. Trana's screening assays identify compounds that interrupt the lifecycle of pathogens through a mechanism of action - the inhibition of transfer RNA (tRNA).
Unique probes are employed in a high-throughput screening process to identify compounds that possess tRNA inhibitory activity. By inhibiting the role of tRNA and crippling protein assembly, protein synthesis cannot proceed, thus stopping pathogen growth and the spread of infection.
Most pathogens responsible for causing infectious diseases, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, require tRNA for replication. A specific assay will be used that identifies inhibitors of the tRNA recruited by HIV during its protein synthesis and assembly phase of replication.
Southern Research is a recognized leader in the field of nucleoside chemistry and biology. It has a long-standing successful drug discovery program with more than 20 drug candidates entering clinical trials and six approved for use. Southern Research initiated a program two years ago to expand their biological and chemical diversity through external collaborations.
"We have been looking to screen our proprietary repository against new targets to identify compounds that deserve further investigation," said David Harris, director of Drug Discovery Business Development at Southern Research.
"We're particularly excited about the possibility of discovering a new class of anti-HIV medicine through the use of the tRNA mechanism of action."
"We have been seeking compounds to demonstrate commercialization opportunities for our tRNA intellectual property and for further chemical optimization," said Steve Peterson, CEO of Trana Discovery.
"This agreement is a great step toward the advancement of our technology. We are very excited about collaborating with Southern Research."
In the future, the companies plan to explore a variety of joint projects to discover new compounds for the treatment of other serious bacterial and viral infectious diseases.